W.A.S.P. – Live… in the Raw (Review)


Live… in the Raw 1997 Reissue

Many of the great live albums functioned as “end of an era” releases. They documented a period of a band’s career and placed a full-stop on it before evolving into something new.

Ever since the release of their debut single (Animal) Fuck Like a Beast, controversy had dogged W.A.S.P. and they soon became a prime target for the PMRC, while also experiencing death threats and even assassination attempts. The stress had tired the band, causing tensions in the ranks but also galvanising band leader Blackie Lawless who felt that the focus on the band’s image and antics had meant their musical merits were under-estimated.

Live… in the Raw was recorded over three dates on their successful world tour promoting their third album, Inside The Electric Circus. Opener Inside The Electric Circus is thrilling and has some great sawing guitar riffs. The band proceeds to tear through a taut, muscular set that mixes classics and new tracks alike. In fact there are three tracks on here that would have previously been unavailable: two excellent live tracks Harder Faster and The Manimal and one studio track Scream Until You Like It recorded to promote the Horror sequel Ghoulies II.

2011 reissue of Inside the Electric Circus relegates Live… in the Raw to mere bonus disc.

Like many of the best live albums, some of the songs here enjoy their definitive performances on this album. Inside The Electric Circus, L.O.V.E Machine, Wild Child and 9.5.-N.A.S.T.Y. are all superb. The only thing that stops Live… in the Raw being all the W.A.S.P. you’ll ever need is the notable omission of (Animal) Fuck Like a Beast (although they would atone for this with the release, in 1988, of the Live Animal EP).

Live… in the Raw would prove pivotal to the band’s career. It boosted the profile and legitimacy of their catalogue and functioned as a historically important “end of an era” release. The album would provide a full-stop on the sex, parties and gore period of their career. From now on, W.A.S.P. were going to get serious!

HMO Rating: 4.5 out of 5

35 thoughts on “W.A.S.P. – Live… in the Raw (Review)”

  1. Interesting perspective sir! I never got this album until the late 90’s, when they were remastered with the addition of single B-sides. I knew “Scream Until You Like It” but nothing else.

    So I haven’t devoted as much listening time to it as perhaps you have. I should give it another listen and get back to you.


    1. I liked them back in the day but they have really grown on me a lot over the last few years. I go back to them a lot and they keep getting better! I can’t really explain it. Headless Children is an incredible record too.


  2. Headless is my favourite and I still love it today. From Lost Child to Forever Free, Rebel in the FDG…yeah. And I think Frankie Banali played drums on that record. I wish they had a live album from that tour!


  3. I don’t have anything to add to the W.A.S.P. conversation, sorry. However, HMO, I did think of two more GREAT STUPENDOUS SUPER AMAZING live records post-1985, for your consideration.

    1) Midnight Oil – Scream In Blue Live (1992). Seriously, this thing is recorded SO LOUD. It’s amazing. Even if you don’t really like the Oils as I do, you’d have to admit that this is a pretty stellar set of career tracks, and it sound freaking amazing.

    2) Rollins Band – The Only Way To Know For Sure (2002). I just sent this one to Mike for his birthday. Recorded from the stage to the truck to the CD, no fixes, no overdubs, nothing. What they played that night is what is on the CD, warts and all, and it is CRUSHING. I’m sure Mike will chime in here, as he’s just getting through it for the first time this weekend, but I’ve been playing and re-playing that 2CD set for 10 years. It is indispensible, to me. The energy level that night, the musicianship… incredible. This is also my workout music. It’s all I have on my jogging MP3 player. It’s all I need. It is that good. Total energy and total motivation, determination and sheer balls-out fury. Definitely overlooked by, well, everybody, but this live album is just one of the best.


    1. Always on the lookout for GREAT STUPENDOUS SUPER AMAZING recommendations so cheers for these! 🙂

      I’m not sure I’ve ever heard Midnight Oil but I’ve got a few Rollins’ Cds but the only album I’m really familiar with is the End of Silence which is fantastic. Not heard of that live album so I’ll be sure to check them both out.


      1. Well, as for that terminology, I hear a lot of records and it’s rare for one to jump out at me like that. Especially live records (as you’ve noted in these pages). I love in the liner notes for the Oils live, how the writer is describing watching the roadies bolt the drum set to the stage because the guy hits so hard. As for the Rollins, it doesn’t seem to be available on his web page anymore, but copies are out there for sure. End Of Silence is a MUST. I have the original and the re-issue with all the yummy extra tracks. It’s just a bomb going off in your stereo. Especially those forst three tracks. Incredible! I also liked the follow-up, Weight. That line-up of Haskett/Gibbs/Cain was just punishing. As for the Mother Superior era, start with Get Some Go Again. Careful though – get started and you’ll want them all! Watch the Thumb blog – I’ll be posting all of my Rollins shortly. It is… a lot of albums…


      2. I think I’ve got most of his stuff up to, and including, Weight. I’ve honestly not listened to most of it as much as it deserves but you’ve really put me in the mood to go through them.

        Do you like Black Flag? Any recommendations for them?


    1. He’s totally cool, I’ve seen his spoken word shows a couple of times but not any of his band performances.

      Speaking of his spoken word, have you heard “It’s KISS”? Rollins recounting his trip to see a KISS reunion show. It’s hilarious.


  4. Keep an eye on the Thumb, you two. I am in the process of posting up everything I have of Rollins on CD. Tonight, I put up 10… just to get us started. I tried to keep the Flag stuff chronological, and will do the same when I get to Rollins tomorrow.

    Do I like Black Flag? OH HELL YES! Hahaha Mike’s right, don’t get me started. I can’t even conceive of a life spent without listening to them. Constantly. Recommendations for them? They only had 6 studio albums, so buy them all. The pretty pictures are on the Thumb. And here’s your shopping list:


    Mike, the CD I sent you was pretty lazy on my part, no real mix-tape effort to it. It was The First Four Years and Damaged, all on one CD. That one came with a serious warning – it can destroy everything in its path, so do handle it with care.

    I have the KISS story on one of his spoken word CD sets. When I get to it, I’ll be sure to make a mention. It is a funny story. He also tells a great one about going to see RATT.

    Rollins is The Man. I love everything he does. Even those shitty movies he ends up in, they’re so bad they’re funny. I try to get everyone into what he’s done (and is doing). I have all the CDs, books, and DVDs (I think). It’s a lot. Don’t get overwhelmed by it all. But whatever you grab will treat you well. He does everything with integrity, thought, humour and piss&vinegar, so it’s all good. If you need recommendations, let me know. But HMO, if you have everything up to Weight by Rollins Band, that’s most of the original line-up’s output (excluding their last before they split, Come In And Burn. Mother Superior took over after that). You really can’t go wrong with any of it. And those four guys together were amazing! That battery! Make sure the neighbours don’t complain about bass when you blast that stuff, ‘cos tht bottom end is crushing. And Haskett’s guitar… a genius.

    Look at me, blathering on and on. Am I passionate about this? Ummm… maybe? 😉


    1. I’m getting an impression that you’re quite enthusiastic about Rollins! Haha

      I’ve created a last.fm account so I can hopefully have a listen to all this stuff. They have the Rollins live album you mentioned on their which is good cause it looks quite pricey otherwise.

      I’m heading over to sexythumb right now to check out the collection!


      1. Hey, I’ve been following all your comments and that on Gmail, popping here just to say Hi. Will reply to all. Thanks for checking out the Thumb again!

        Oh yes, enthusiastic is a good word. There’s an energy to what he did with Black Flag, a paranoia and anger and something that just seethes and wants to destroy. Incredible. It carried over to his solo work, but the music changed, got heavier and looser. Oh baby.

        Yeah, I just like what the man has to say. The lyrics are equally (if not more so) important to the music.

        As for the live record, there’s some decently-priced copies here (and actually, be careful on this web site, it’s dangerous for your pocket book!):


        Sorry, it’s not on his web page anymore. A lot of that stuff (as you’ll see in my blog soon) is no longer available. A real shame.


      2. I’ve been listening to Weight a couple of times today and really enjoying it. I know what you mean about it being loose. It’s much looser than End of Silence, even, quite funky and jazzy! But, like you say, its still got the intensity and anger running through it all.


  5. Yeah, Weight is freakin’ fantastic. I LOVE that record.

    Listen, I realized I’m going about the Rollins postings all wrong – I’m not being complete. I need to start over. So if they disappear for a bit, don’t worry. They will come back!


      1. That’s pretty much it, it sounded suspiciously accomplished! To me, it sounds like Blackie’s vocals are double tracked on some choruses. You can hear the same thing on Kiss Alive II for example (Paul harmonizing with himself on Tomorrow and Tonight), it’s not a cardinal sin, just an observation. Either way it was still a great live metal album.

        Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2012 20:07:05 +0000 To: mladano@sympatico.ca


      2. Yeah absolutely! It’s not something that I have a problem with. If its good enough for Priest and Lizzy…

        I’ve never noticed Paul harmonizing with himself, that is hilarious! I’ve listened to that so many times I’m obviously not paying enough attention. They did that at soundcheck, I think, along with Hard Luck Woman didn’t they?


      3. You got it! That’s exactly right. With Queensryche you can hear a lot of backing tapes on all their live performances. You can hear Tate in the background as well as lead. It happens.


  6. I know I’ve seen folk artists play guitar in coffee house-style settings, and they’ll play a riff and then step on a foot pedal and that riff keeps playing while they do something else and sing over top. I can’t see why major bands like KISS and Queensryche, who have dedicated road crews and techie-type people at their disposal, couldn’t use similar things. But backing tapes? That’s stretching it a bit. The far end of that spectrum is being like Lenny Kravitz, that rat bastard. I’ve told Mike this story… Went to a show to see Black Crowes, would have been 1999 or so. Pine Knob, near Detroit. Had to put up with Cree Summer (WTF) and Everlast (ugh) before dem Crowes hit stage. Anyway, Lenny was headlining so we stuck around after their (excellent) set. We were right down front, near-enough to the center. That Lenny, man, he was lip-syncing. I swear it. I’m telling you, first it’s backing tapes and before you know it you’re Milli Vanilli. So. Backing tapes: the gateway drug to laziness?


    1. You guys wanna see an awesome one-man performance using a cool loop like Aaron is talking about? Google “Jacob Moon”, and “Subdivisions”. Jacob, who opened for Marillion on their Canadian dates, covered “Sudivisions” by Rush acoustically, single handed. Geddy himself is a fan of the version. He used a tape loop to cover the guitar part while he played the solo, and also had a hand-held recorder to play the distorted word “subdivisions”. Oh…and it’s all live. On a rooftop. Amazing!

      Date: Thu, 23 Aug 2012 03:28:53 +0000 To: mladano@sympatico.ca


    2. Lip-Syincing is definitely inexcusable! Shame on Lenny…

      I’ve never noticed Geoff Tate duetting with himself, either! Will the new guy be replacing Geoff’s voice with his own on the backing tapes I wonder… this could get complicated. Not too surprised Queensryche would use backing tapes as they have a lot of sound effects going on, no keyboard player and they lost a very useful backing vocalist when Chris DeGarmo left I guess.

      Like Mike said earlier, I don’t think it’s a cardinal sin, but I’d like to be able to trust what was coming out the speakers a bit more. So much technology available to smooth over the cracks in a performance now – on the stage as well as in the studio.

      I’ll be checking out Jacob Moon when I get back from work. Sounds great!


      1. I notice the Tate stuff mostly on the LIVEcrime CD. And yes, the new singer has re-recorded all their old backing tapes. That was stated in the press, because Tate was accusing them of using his backing tapes. Apparently in Queensryche, it is the drummer who triggers all the samples.

        Date: Thu, 23 Aug 2012 16:01:40 +0000 To: mladano@sympatico.ca


  7. Yeah, I saw that. Very cool! Isn’t he from Hamilton, or something?

    You know the coolest thing about that Lenny show? His drummer. Cindy Blackman. She was AWESOME. She had the skills, man. Totally slumming with that dog Lenny. What a great drummer.


  8. Love to know who recorded Live in the raw, such an awesome live album. What a killer snare sound nothing like it. Plenty of solid bass and the band is tight as a mofo! Anyone know?

    Liked by 1 person

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